Irap (Tiznow) wins the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland on 4.8.2017. Julien Leparoux up, Doug O’Neill trainer, Paul Reddam owner.
The $ 500,000 Grade 3 Ohio Derby at JACK Thistledown closed Wednesday, June 14, with 38 nominations, announced Director of Racing, David Ellsworth. Ohio’s richest and only graded Thoroughbred race, the 1 1/8-mile Ohio Derby is scheduled to run Saturday, June 24.
“Coming five weeks before the Jim Dandy and the Haskell Invitational and six weeks before the West Virginia Derby, the timing of this race positively positions 3-year-olds to begin their summer campaigns for graded wins,” said Ellsworth. “We look forward to welcoming horsemen and the public to a great day of racing.”
The Ohio Derby regained graded status this year.
Among the nominees are Kentucky Derby show horse Battle of Midway, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, and contenders Hence (Steve Asmussen), Girvin (Joe Sharp), Irap (Doug O’Neill), Fast and Accurate (Mike Maker) and Untrapped (Asmussen). A win in the Ohio Derby would be the first for any of the five trainers except Hollendorfer, who won this race and then the Haskell with King Glorious in 1989.
Trainer Dallas Stewart has nominated hard-luck Belmont starter Hollywood Handsome, who lost any chance to win the classic when he clipped heels and jockey Florent Geroux lost his irons.
Trainer Mark Casse has nominated Souper Tapit, who earned his first graded win in his last start, the Marine Stakes (G3) at Woodbine. Casse won the Ohio Derby in 2012 with multiple graded stakes winner Prospective.
Thistledown’s frequent and current leading trainer, Jeff Radosevich, has nominated four: Bluegrass Envy, Game Over, Talk Less and Nikki My Darling. All four are owned by Ron Paolucci’s Loooch Racing Stables, Nikki My Darling in partnership with Imaginary Stables.
Loooch Racing Stables was Thistledown’s leading owner the last two years and leads the current meet.
Nikki My Darling and Tim Hamm trainee Tapa Tapa Tapa are the only fillies nominated to the Ohio Derby. Both are stakes winners.
Entries for the Ohio Derby will be drawn Wednesday, June 21, with a maximum of 14 to start. The racing office also will draw entries for two supporting undercard stakes, the $ 75,000 George Lewis Memorial Stakes, 1 1/8 miles for accredited Ohio foals 3-years-old and up, and the $ 75,000 J. Wm Petro Memorial Handicap, 1 1/16 miles for registered Ohio-bred fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
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